Beginning in April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been jailed or detained in re-education camps throughout northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule. Sources say detainees routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers in the camps and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities. Beijing, which initially denied the existence of such camps, now says they are part of the fight against extremism and also work to provide Uyghurs vocational training. An officer at a police station in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service about the conditions at a camp where he worked as a guard for 10 months. In the third part of the interview, the officer—who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal—describes how the ban on religious practices in the camp affects bedtime, and even the specific language detainees can use when talking with family members.
RFA: How many beds are there in each dormitory?
Officer: There are 10.